Here are some tips from the Douglas County School District during National Bullying Prevention Month:
- What can parents of the victim do? It is difficult as a parent to realize that your child may be under attack from a bully. Encourage your child to share his/her problems with you. Reassure them that this is not tattling. Your child may be fearful, embarrassed, and ashamed. Listen to your child and reassure them that they will not have the face the problem alone. Empower your child to practice good safety such as avoiding known bullies, going with friends to new places and rehearsing appropriate responses to bullying behavior. Motivate and encourage your child when they have responded positively to a bullying situation.
- Create dialogue between you and the school. Keep a detailed record of bullying episodes and related communication. Help develop a plan of action for the school to follow. Ask for help from your child’s teacher to encourage friendships with other students who are calm, friendly and who may share the same interests. You may want to seek the advice of a school administrator, a school counselor or a trusted professional to help you identify helpful strategies.
- Is your child a bully? It may be difficult to accept, but parents are the front line in combating bullying, especially if it is your child who is the bully. Children who bully increase their risk for engaging in other forms of antisocial behavior, such as juvenile delinquency, criminality and substance abuse. Bullying behavior should be taken seriously, if you do nothing, it implies that bullying is acceptable behavior.
- Boys are more likely than girls to be bullies. However, girls are more likely to engage in other forms of harassment, such as Cyberbullying. Most bullies tend to have difficulty conforming to rules, are defiant and aggressive toward adults and authority figures, and have a strong need to dominate and control their peers.
- What can you do if your child is a bully? Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously, and will not tolerate such behavior in the future. Above all, model good behavior for your child. If you exhibit aggressive behavior, the more likely your child is to act aggressively toward peers. Maintain contact with your child’s school, and support the school’s efforts to modify your child’s behavior. A trusted professional may help your child learn how to develop less aggressive and more appropriate reaction behaviors.
By working together and opening up communication between your child, you and your child’s school – we can all help stop bullying.